SECURITY preparations for the 67th Miss Universe pageant went to high gear as the Philippine National Police deployed more than 1,300 personnel to the Mall of Asia in Pasay City ahead of the pageant that kicks off Jan. 15.
Senior Supt. Emmanuel Licup said the 1,300 cops will be deployed in different areas of the pageant venue and entourage to ensure the safety and security of the 247 participants, including 88 candidates and their relatives, organizers, judges, among others.
“We don’t have direct threat but our monitoring is continuous. We can provide their security just like what we did during the Papal visit [on January 2015], APEC Leader Meeting in November 2015, the ongoing Asean summit, and the Traslacion [of the Black Nazarene] which has just ended,” Licup said.
Licup said they are coordinating with other government agencies to include Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Health, Philippine Coast Guard and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency for security concerns involving the beauty contest.
Licup said they are setting-up an intelligence fusion center linking information to concerned agencies involved in the international event.
The Police Security and Protection Group, Licup said, will serve as close-in security for the candidates while the Highway Patrol Group, Airport Security Group, Intelligence Group, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and other units will provide support services.
The Miss Universe candidates are expected to visit various historical and tourist sites including Vigan City, Baguio City, Boracay, Cebu, Batangas, Davao and some parts of Metro Manila’s entertainment areas such as Solaire, Okada Hotel, City of Dreams and Hyatt Hotel.
Licup said one policeman will be detailed to each Miss Universe candidates.
“The PNP will spearhead security arrangements in all venues. From the airport, we will provide route security, secure them in their billeting places and tourist destinations. We will be strict with their movements,” Licup said.
Licup said signal cutoff in areas where the candidates will visit has not yet been discussed during their meetings. “We will come up with a final security plan by Wednesday,” he added.
Licup said there will be no special budget for the PNP for this event. “We are just relying on our regular budget but we can always request for additional funds for reasonable expenses for security,” he said.
Licup said there is nothing to worry about the travel advisories given by some countries to its nationals since it only covers the southern part of the country.
“All eyes will be focused on the Philippines and we would like to take this opportunity to showcase our tourist destinations and the peace and order situation,” Licup said.